I Have A Problem With Endangering Art

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by jason_els, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    It really bothers me when rich people outfit their planes with original masterpieces. Yachts tend to bother me much less as they don't tend to sink so quickly that you can't rescue valuables and yachts tend to do their best to avoid bad weather. Granted, the whole sea air thing isn't good for anything antique but I can live with it.

    Planes, on the other hand, tend to go down spectacularly when they really and truly break. Here's a pic from Donald Trump's 727 which he's unloading to upgrade. In the back there's a Renoir and what might be a Sisley in the foreground. Ignoring the gauche upholstery for a second, it seems to me rather reckless to fly around the world carrying such world treasures. There was a time when the rich would buy pieces like this and just stick them in a house or two and carry them around, hanging them with the full intention of keeping them protected and safe; an attitude that buying a masterpiece meant that you were simply the current custodian. To treat it so blithely as to keep it in such a high-risk place as a plane strikes me as terribly selfish. I'm reminded of the Japanese man who bought a version of Renoir's Bal au Moulin de la Galette and then promptly announced that he loved it so much that he'd have it cremated with him. After an enormous uproar he eventually changed his mind about that with the excuse, "I didn't know it would upset people so much." I wonder if Trump is just that clueless or just that smug. The man's not stupid so I really can't imagine it's ignorance either.
     
  2. Principessa

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    Hmm, I hadn't given this topic much, okay any thought before you mentioned it. Yes, it bothers me too. I can't believe that plane needs to be upgraded first of all and 2nd just by virtue of what they are I'd think a print would suffice for a plane or a boat.

    The Japanese guy was obviously an ignorant butthead. :mad: I suppose the same could be said of Trump. He may be business savvy; but an art historian he is not.
     
  3. nicenycdick

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    I wouldn't be surprised if the art on board was a very good copy of a piece he actually owned. It is not unusual for holders of significant art to exhibit only copies and keep the originals in a safer place (for both insurance and security reasons). Although, having dealt with Mr. Trump in the past, I wouldn't be surprised if his arrogance would allow him to risk the loss of something so priceless.
     
  4. D_Fiona_Farvel

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    Is it arrogance? He owns the art privately, is it not his right to do with it as he pleases?
     
  5. Rubenesque

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    I totally understand what you're saying here, the idea that precious works of art are being put at risk is horrifying. I've always believed that whoever has such items in their possession are really custodians rather than owners and have taken on the massive responsibility of protecting it for future generations.

    That said... art aside, I wouldn't mind going long haul on his plane!
     
  6. jason_els

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    Legally, yes. Ethically, no.
     
  7. B_Nick8

    B_Nick8 New Member

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    Jason, have you met your family? No? Well then allow me...
     
  8. D_Fiona_Farvel

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    While I respect your ethical standards, I disagree that Trump or other collectors are under an obligation to behave in a different manner because others might find it objectionable.

    I do not see anything careless about placing artwork in a private plane, yacht, or home, with each there exists a possibility that the item could be destroyed. There are ways to keep art absolutely safe from any danger, and I am sure those methods would be met with criticism as well.
     
  9. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    Land? Animals? Slaves? Pollution? Waste disposal? Even a loud party late at night? Buy the Sistine Chapel and knock it down for a H&M? The Vatican could use a department store.

    There are occasions when the obligation to do what is right for all of humanity outweighs the need for personal desire. Owning a masterpiece is one of those occasions. If you have the privilege of owning a bit of the world's heritage, you're under an ethical obligation to care for it to the best of your ability and share it when possible because ultimately it is humanity's legacy, not your own, which is what you possess.

    That depends. Museums are usually very safe though they occasionally suffer disasters like bombs, earthquakes (a particular scourge of Italy), and fire. Homes are also usually fairly safe if they have adequate security and fire suppression systems. There are many ways to protect art in ways which do not hinder the enjoyment of it. Even on a yacht, a real work can be kept in a nitrogen-sealed case with little diminishment of enjoyment and, again, stands a chance of being rescued before a sinking, which is rare with large motor yachts anyway. Planes though... if a plane goes down, there's little chance anything like a painting would survive. A few cruise ships claim to have real masterpieces in their restaurants and other venues. I hope they keep them in a climate-controlled environment but I'm willing to bet they don't. It pisses me off.
     
  10. D_Fiona_Farvel

    D_Fiona_Farvel Account Disabled

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    Yes. If the owner so desires and it fits the standards of the era.

    As with most people, I would like to see art maintained and made available to the public, but disagree there is a right to dictate to a private party how they care for their own private property.

    Perhaps there is a greater moral issue, however, I think the privilege is that humanity, or whoever the people are who value these works, are given the opportunity to view, or to be aware the existence of, an item that is essentially not, and may never be, in the public sphere.

    As plane crashes are very rare, perhaps it is no more dangerous for Trump to keep art there as in Turtle Bay or Palm Beach. Whatever his reasoning, and likely NiceNYCDick is correct about the copies, I feel it is his choice to make.

    ETA: And, I am not just being bitchy. I think we have a different view of public and private rights and responsibilities. So, I'll leave it at that.
     
    #10 D_Fiona_Farvel, Nov 15, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2009
  11. Northland

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    As the song title goes, Here Today, Gone Tomorrow.

    Everything is temporary, life, books, music, art. That's part of what keeps life interesting and keeps the thought procedure in action. If every piece of art, every musical composition and every book ever created was still around, there'd be no space left for people or crops to feed the people and or animals which the people eat and so people would die off, which would lead to there being nobody to view the paintings and sculptures, nobody to listen to or play the music and nobody to read the books.

    Attrition, by whatever means, has always been the way of the world. Attrition leads to people using their brains to 'create anew', often copying items from the past, many which are now gone. Through attrition, music is disposed of (for example that record you bought in 1980- where is it now? Is there another copy anywhere? How long will I be able to keep my Tracey Ullman album? Will it survive past my death?), books are thrown out and turned to ruin (I have books written in the early part of the last century which only had one printing-what happens to them when I die? I doubt somebody will hold on to them.), paintings and sculpture fall apart, become damaged and soon are no longer (no matter how hard you try, some damage will occur, which will lead to total decay).

    Attrition even exhibits itself in architecture. An architect and builders can create and erect a new structure which will be remarkably similar in appearance to something which may have existed 2400 years ago; but, since it has long left the landscape, it's not known that it had existed. The architect of 2069 will design something and it will be built and heralded as 'genius'. In 2099, an archaeological dig will discover a hidden city and a similar structure will be found. It doesn't make the 2069 creation any less valuable-it still took creativity, which if nothing was torn down or destroyed by time and the elements, would not have happened and a potential architect might have ended up twiddling his thumbs and toes all day. I love attrition! Without attrition (or whatever other word you'd prefer), peoplekind would have no reason to think or create or to reason. Peoplekind would end. More power to attrition!


    On my walls are 2 original paintings- one by someone the other by someone else. The one has a basic value; but, it won't most likely stick around after I'm gone. Even knowing its value, my family has expressed no interest in it, so it will probably meet the fate of which the contents of many homes meet, and land in a dumpster as my apartment is wrecked for renovation (and a substantial increase in rent).

    Life continues-for how long, we do not know, both the human creature and the planet can cease at any time. In the meantime, people will do with their possessions as they see fit. I've destroyed things over the years, and perhaps you have as well. Does that make us any less answerable or accountable to the masses than it does Donald Trump? Just because our items seemed of less value, doesn't make it so. They were at one time a value to someone; however, they reached an end which the Universe saw fit (yes, I have some rather esoteric thoughts on how everything functions and fits together). All things are temporary.
     
  12. SilverTrain

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    Speaking of slippery slopes.....

    I'd venture that an antecedent issue here arises as to what constitutes a "masterpiece."

    As to the issue of an owner's obligations, while I understand and respect Jason's feelings, I agree with LadyShady.
     
  13. nudeyorker

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    It's their money, they own it. They are under no obligation as far as I can see. Houses burn down more often than planes crash and yachts sink!
     
  14. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    I'm surprised and disappointed by these replies. Apparently you believe art has no value beyond a dollar amount. That's really sad.
     
  15. nudeyorker

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    No it's not that art has no value to me beyond the dollar amount. But frankly, if art is stolen and hidden away and can never be appreciated; than it's far more of a crime than someone who bought it and is enjoying it on their terms. Because they own it and it's their choice. I had some napkin drawings from an artist that a housekeeper foolishly put in the laundry that are forever lost. I got over it. At the end of the day if someone owns something I appreciate that it is theirs to do what they see fit.
     
  16. D_Ireonsyd_Colonrinse

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    To my mind, there are certain works of art that are priceless and irreplaceable (I have a soft spot for a great deal of Renaissance art).

    If I had my druthers, were I king for a month, I'd gather together a commision of a couple dozen World Art Historians - to draw up a list of Cultural Art, art that has historical and cultural importance, that is currently in private hands. Like Robin Hood's method, these agreed-upon items of historical artistic importance would be SEIZED and then re-distributed among the world-class musems: the Metropolitan, the Louvre, the Uffizi in Florence, the Smithsonian, the Centre Georges Pompidou, both Gettys in L.A., the Museo del Prado in Madrid, the State Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia.... the Tate, even the Vatican... there are many more.


    But you get my point: Rob from the wealthy collectors and GIVE to the masses. If we feel guilty enough, we can always give world tax dollars to recompense the collectors. But give the art an appreciative audience. Much worse crimes have been committed during the course of human history than taking great art from a relatively few individuals in order to culturally enrich the masses.



    Yes, I realize this reeks of socialism. Yes, it's anti-capitalist and it's wrong to "steal". I don't need anybody's dollar-book Freud. But part of me believes this is the right thing to do.
     
    #16 D_Ireonsyd_Colonrinse, Nov 15, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2009
  17. nudeyorker

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    You and Jason are both entitled your opinions. I'm wondering if they would differ if you actually owned something that was coveted. Meanwhile I'm a patron at "The Met" and I can wear my fur coat and enjoy and appreciate what is available to view and have a snazzy lunch afterwards away from the hoi pollai!
    I know this(being a patron) would buy quite a bit of tofu, but I'm putting my money where my mouth is. Are you?
    www.metmuseum.org/member/me_patron.htm
     
    #17 nudeyorker, Nov 15, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2009
  18. thadjock

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    what about the people on the plane/ship that go down with the art, you've made no mention of the loss of thier lives. is it because they have no auction value?

    "art" is an opinion about a scrap of canvas, a lump of marble, an ingot of bronze......a human life is hopefully counted as more valuable than all of these.
     
  19. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    I don't own anything terribly valuable, nothing from A list artists but members of my family do and none of them have ever expressed anything other than immense respect for the work they own. When my aunt's house burned down I was the first person up on the third floor searching for two paintings which were stored in the attic where the fire started. I risked my LIFE to crawl up there with gaping holes in the floor to find them. A Marin was destroyed but a Utrillo was still wet from the fire hoses and, happily, salvageable. My aunt, however, was upset about two things: her late husband's WW I medals, which we later found, and that painting. Yes it was insured but she mourned its loss because it was irreplaceable to the world. As far as she was concerned, the world lost something beautiful and now no museum or gallery would ever see it again. I don't deny I'm probably influenced by her respect and love of art and craftsmanship and her sense of being a custodian rather than someone with a fat bank account who could burn them for fun.

    I'm glad you're a Met member. I used to be before I was broke. Now I can't afford it. I used to be a MOMA member too until they started charging $20 admission rather than taking voluntary donations. I think MOMA's become an elitist institution bent more on self-congratulation than on actual public education and I won't support it. Keeping the hoi polloi out is not something I support in the slightest.

    You might remember the Gardiner robbery where a Vermeer, of which there are only 36 or 37 in the world, and an important Rembrandt were stolen. Those paintings are still in the hands of the thief. The Gardiner knows who the thief is and the thief knows the Gardiner knows. The problem is the FBI knows too and they won't drop charges against the thief and thus allow the museum to get their pieces back. They were stolen for ransom, not for resale as they're far too hot. The Gardiner didn't buy anything else to replace the spaces on the wall. Isabella Gardiner prohibited it in her will saying the spaces were to be left as blank as the day the pieces were stolen to show the world how impoverished we become when great works are lost. I think she was right.
     
  20. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    Of course not. If you prefer to imagine that all lives were saved, then do so.

    A perfect example of why arts education in this country is so necessary and also an example of the effects of not having it.

    People have died to save great works from disaster and been hailed heroes for doing so.
     
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